Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
Aaron Rodgers, head coach of the women's soccer team, talks with reporters on Chessa Field, Nov. 8, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

Soccer: Ohio hopes that this memory will never end

The story of the Ohio Soccer team is not only one of record-breaking statistics and shocking outcomes, but it is also one of triumph, heart and an unyielding will to win. 

For the first time in program history, the Ohio Soccer team has won the Mid-American Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament. This story is one of utmost unpredictability and leads most to ask: How the heck did we get here?

With only a week left in the regular season, the future MAC champions held a conference record of just 2-4-3. In order to even qualify for the six-team tournament, Ohio would need to win the remainder of its games and also receive some serious help from other teams in the conference. 

By the skin of their teeth, the Bobcats snuck in as the No. 6 seed in the tournament. 

From that point on, Ohio “had nothing to lose.” 

Week after week, it was the same story, “Ohio pulls off yet another major upset.”

As the season progressed, the team continued to improve. From the moment the season seemed all but over, the team has yet to lose, winning five straight matches to find itself in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. 

“I think it’s just like, we weren’t expecting to be here, but now that we are, we know that we deserved it; I think it’s just like a sense of relief,” MAC tournament MVP Scout Murray, said. 

The team was led by whom Head Coach Aaron Rodgers said he believes is “the best goalkeeper in the league,” Celeste Sloma. Sloma allowed just two goals in the span of the team's three-game run in the MAC tournament and has been one of the leaders in an impressive Ohio defense all season long. 

“After we beat Kent State (in the final game of the conference tournament), I don’t think anyone wanted us to win, and we used that … no one thought we were going to win either,” Sloma said. “ We just used that to propel ourselves forward; it really energized us and gave us momentum and I think that momentum will carry into the tournament. We’re so excited to go play Michigan State and I really think that we have a chance in this game.”

Playing as an underdog basically since the start of conference play, Ohio has learned how to embrace doubt and use it to its advantage. From here on out, Ohio will likely not play a match as the favorite to win, and maybe that’s exactly how they prefer it. 

“I think you saw it with Western Michigan, who Kent (State) beat in the semi-final. They had won the regular season, and you know, you win the regular season, you feel like you have that expectation… to go on and win the tournament, and you get that pressure on you,” Rodgers said. “We knew that we had no pressure. On Wednesday before the last game, nobody even thought we’d even get into the tournament; I even thought it was a long shot.” 

From then on, Ohio just kept winning. The team played its best soccer of the year and received results that no other team in the history of Ohio Soccer has achieved. 

“We told the team to start making a memory when we had to beat Eastern Michigan, then make another one when we had to win by multiple goals against Akron,” Rodgers said. “Let’s keep this memory going; that has freed us … Let’s just go out and be who we are.”


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH